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Graduation, car show to slam city
Mar 21, 2006 12:00 am
March 17, 2006
When about 4,000 people gather at Lebanon High School in May to send off more than 300 seniors, they may be forced to contend with the gathering of thousands of other guests as well.
Because of an unforeseen scheduling conflict, the Friday, May 26 LHS graduation will coincide with the beginning of one of Lebanon's busiest and rowdiest events, the annual Slammin' & Jammin' car show.
Police and school officials confirmed Wednesday both events are planned for the same weekend, and neither one is likely to move to accommodate the other.
Lebanon Public Safety Commissioner Billy Weeks said the arrival of Slammin' & Jammin' will likely raise questions about whether family members of graduating seniors will be able to book hotel rooms in the city.
"If they do, I hope they like loud music, beer and partying," Weeks said.
In addition to accommodations, traffic will also be a major concern, the safety commissioner said.
"It's a logistical nightmare," Weeks said of coordinating traffic around the car show, even on an otherwise uneventful weekend. "We have to stop traffic on Tennessee Boulevard just to get out of the police department. . . It's that bad."
Weeks said he feels for Lebanon High School and the department will do everything it can to help them.
"These students have gone to school for 12 years for this night," he said. " … I would hate to have to see them move their graduation on the account of this thing."
But moving graduation is simply not an option, LHS Principal Don Hassler said.
"We will not change graduation," he said, noting graduation day is set in December so students and parents have time to send out notices and make family arrangements.
Yet, Hassler said he still does not foresee an insurmountable problem.
The principal noted the majority of graduation guests stay with family, while only a small minority need hotel rooms.
"I don't see a big problem here," he said. "Certainly, if people are running late and trying to come up 231, then, yeah, that could pose a problem."
But Hassler said the school will get the word out some roads will be crowded and offer alternative directions to Nokes-Lasater field.
"Everything we do is on the field, and (Highway) 231 is far enough over to hopefully not cause too much of a problem for us," Hassler said
Lebanon Tourism Director Ricky Rodriguez could not be reached for comment.
Director of Schools Dr. Jim Duncan was in Nashville on business all day, but Deputy Director Mickey Hall said when school officials return next week from intersession they will gather to discuss the situation and make adequate preparations.
"We will sit down and discuss it with Mr. Hassler and his staff and see if there are any problems and, if so, resolve those however we have to," Hall said.
Staff Writer Jared Allen can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 15 or by e-mail at email@example.com.